Journal article Open Access

Designing a diving protocol for thermocline identification using dive computers in Marine Citizen Science

Egi, Murat Salih; Cousteau, Pierre-Yves; Pieri, Massimo; Cerrano, Carlo; Özyigit, Tamer; Marroni, Alessandro

Dive computers have an important potential for citizen science projects where recreational SCUBA divers can upload the depth temperature profile and the geolocation of the dive to a central database which may provide useful information about the subsurface temperature of the oceans. However, their accuracy may not be adequate and needs to be evaluated. The aim of this study is to assess the accuracy and precision of dive computers and provide guidelines in order to enable their contribution to citizen science projects. Twenty-two dive computers were evaluated during real ocean dives for consistency and scatter in the first phase. In the second phase, the dive computers were immersed in sufficient depth to initiate the dive record inside a precisely controlled sea aquarium while using a calibrated device as a reference. Results indicate that the dive computers do not have the accuracy required for monitoring temperature changes in the oceans, however, they can be used to detect thermoclines if the users follow a specific protocol with specific dive computers. This study enabled the authors to define this protocol based on the results of immersion in two different sea aquarium tanks set to two different temperatures in order to simulate the conditions of a thermocline.

This paper has received funding from the European Union (EU)'s H2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 643712 to the project Green Bubbles RISE for sustainable diving (Green Bubbles). This paper reflects only the authors' view. The Research Executive Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Authors would like to express their gratitude to Ali Ethem Keskin who shot the underwater pictures. Authors would like to thank to the management of Istanbul Aquarium for their continuous help during the experiments. Executive Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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